Tuesday, April 22, 2003

European Whirl - Day 13:

April 22nd

Lauterbrunnen … Camping SCCV Jungfrau

Took a good last look at that grandeur mountain, we were heading to Paris!

clip_image002Being in plain again … lots of yellow flowers among the green grass, very different feeling compare to the mountainous Switzerland. I saw lost of plank along the highway, include the famous hat shape – Chapel Ronchamp by Le Corbusier. But while I tried to catch a glimpse, I saw nothing but green grass with yellow flower … pity. Parisian did a good design in any gates that we stop to pay the highway fee.

It’s a very long journey. We arrived at Paris at the afternoon. Our campsite was situated outside the city … as usual. We took a rest and had dinner, our last dinner for the whole trip. It was Chicken drumsticks with buffet salad, and apple strudel as dessert.

After filling our stomach, we went on the coach again for our evening tour. Kristy said that we wouldn’t get off the bus, only driving through Paris. There’re lots of modern buildings along the way; the library that took concept from 4 opened books (I think it was by Dominique Perraut), the Arabian Institute by Jean Nouvel … I was so excited that I almost screamed every time I saw something familiar from architecture magazines, that came alive now. I didn’t realize that those buildings are in Paris actually … another nice surprise of not doing homework ^.^

Kristy told us a little bit about Paris; about a restaurant called Maximus, which is very expensive, the place for those people who don’t want to be seen, and its neighbor Minimus, by the same chef but lots cheaper. And about Marie Antoinette, how she loved parties and always ordered her servants to re-arrange the flower in the garden to have the same color tone as her dress, how she ordered special wine cup as big as her breasts (the glass we have now), about her husband, Louis XIV, had more than 50 mistresses. There’s an opera house that Parisian are very proud about for it is the most beautiful opera house in Europe, the place that inspired the story of The Phantom of The Opera … lots of stories.

clip_image004Kristy said something about a window in a building that had a special light on it … actually what she wanted us to see was the opposite direction …the Eiffel Tower. It was built for an exhibition and supposed to be torn down after that. But the Parisian loves t so much that it stays now. On the WW II, Hitler ordered his general to bomb it, but this general sabotage his order, kept on postponing until the alleys came. The Eiffel tower earned half of the building’s cost just within 6 months after the opening … seeing the super long queue, I wonder how much money do they earn form it tower now. Once there’s a guy who made a pair of wing and tried to fly from the tower, but died before he landed because of heart attack. Many suicide cases happened here, that’s why now the official put wire all over it. It was repainted every 7 years, and took a year to finish, with what so-called the Eiffel green … funny, I saw brown, no green?

clip_image006Kristy suddenly said that they decided to change the plan, to let us have the chance to go on the very top floor of the tower. She wouldn’t bother to ask who wanted to go up and who didn’t, “If you don’t want to, you are crazy.” We were all clapping hands and jump off the coach directly. Kristy bought us group ticket so that we didn’t have to queue for the lift to the second floor … she was a nice woman ^.^ But we still had to queue for taking another lift to the top floor. It took around half an hour to be able to stand at the top of Eiffel Tower. While Gillian and I were queuing, there’s a German guy who chatting with us with English, saying he doesn’t want to learn any France because they don’t want to learn any German, nor English … fare enough ^.^

clip_image008It’s quite cold on the top. I didn’t bring my coat with me … Kristy said we only stay on the bus. But the cold breeze was nothing compare to the view we got. Pity that my hand didn’t want to stay steady under the cold breeze. Queuing for going up, queuing for coming down as well. We were 15 minutes late for the coach; lucky that they were still waiting for us. So, we could cross Eiffel for tomorrow. That’s good. From the book about traveling Paris I brought from Chelsea Library before I depart with this tour, I knew that there’re Grande Arche de La Defence and Park de La Villete are both in Paris, one in West part and one in East part. Now it was just a matter of time and my feet ability to decided whether I could went there to see how grand they were or not.

clip_image010Palais de Chaillot

clip_image012Seine River

clip_image014Parc du Champ de Mars

clip_image016We driving through Champ Elysees, where the Louis Vuition is. Kristy said that they only allow customer to buy 2 items. Some tourist will stand outside the store and try to find someone to help them buy more, with some tips of course. “So if you want to earn some token, you can stand there and wait for someone asking for your favor,” Kristy said. Champ Elysees also is known as diamond and ruby, I supposed because at nighttime, the car lights in one side are all white, while the other side are all red.

“Now we are heading to dangerous zone,” Kristy announced us. It’s the circle of Arch de Triomph. There’re so many car accident in this area, every 7 minutes in peak hours. Craig was a professional driver though. We had no problem at all driving through this dangerous zone. We arrived safely in the campsite, at around half past eleven … quite a long night I had, but I was happy ^.^

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